Friday 23 March 2018

Record punishment for Suarez

Luis Suarez has been banned from all football activity for four months
Luis Suarez has been banned from all football activity for four months

Luis Suarez has been banned from playing for any team, including Liverpool, for four months for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini after FIFA announced a record punishment for the striker.

The sanctions, which include a nine-match international suspension, will have a devastating effect on Liverpool's plans as it will keep the striker out of football until the end of October - potentially 12 club matches.

The Uruguay forward will play no further part in the World Cup in Brazil after his attack on Chiellini during his side's final group game on Tuesday, a 1-0 Uruguay win which saw them progress at Italy's expense.

FIFA confirmed the news at its daily briefing in Rio de Janeiro. The player has also been fined 100,000 Swiss francs (just under £66,000).

Suarez and the Uruguay FA are able to appeal against the sanctions, but even if the appeal is lodged and the process is under way he will not be able to play in any matches, starting with Uruguay's last-16 fixture against Colombia in Rio on Saturday.

The ban on "any kind of football-related activity" means Suarez would not even be able to train with Liverpool or enter any stadium. FIFA has confirmed, however, that it will not prevent the player being transferred should Liverpool decide to sell Suarez, last season's player of the year and the Premier League's top scorer.

It is the third time Suarez has been sanctioned for biting opponents - the two previous offences occurred in club football where he was banned for seven matches and 10 matches respectively.

The latest sanctions should total 21 matches (nine for Uruguay and 12 for Liverpool) so it means he will have faced a total ban of 38 matches for the three incidents - none of which saw a red card shown.

Claudio Sulser, the chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee, said the panel had taken into account all the factors in the case.

Sulser said: "Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field.

"The disciplinary committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suarez's guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the code."

Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre said the club would review the full report before making any further comment.

Ayre said: "Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the FIFA Disciplinary committee report before making any further comment."

The sanctions are a record ban imposed on a player for an offence at a World Cup of an on-the-pitch nature - previously it was Italy's Mauro Tassotti who was banned for eight matches for breaking Luis Enrique's nose with an elbow in 1994.

A statement from FIFA announcing the sanctions read: : "The player Luis Suarez is to be suspended for nine official matches.

"The player Luis Suarez is banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of four months.

"A stadium ban is pronounced against the player Luis Suarez in accordance with article 21 of the FIFA disciplinary code as follows: the player Luis Suarez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium during the period of the ban.

"The player Luis Suarez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium in which the representative team of Uruguay is playing while he has to serve the nine-match suspension.

"The player Luis Suarez is ordered to pay a fine in the amount of 100,000 Swiss Francs."

Brazil's former World Cup winner Ronaldo said Suarez had to pay the price for his misdemeanour.

He told a news conference in Rio: "I know that bites hurt - my young kids used to bite me and I'd punish them - in my home punishment is called the dark room with big bad wolf and for an adult I guess that's the same thing with a four-month ban."

Britain's FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, from Northern Ireland, told Press Association Sport: "I think the punishment handed out by FIFA to Luis Suarez is fully justified.

"Hopefully he will realise now that behaviour of this type will not be tolerated under any circumstances."

Uruguay FA president Wilmar Valdez said the association would appeal against the Suarez sanctions.

Speaking outside the FIFA hotel in Rio, he told reporters: "We are preparing our appeal now, we have three days to do it.

"It is an excessive decision and there was not enough evidence and I have seen more aggressive incidents recently.

"It is a severe punishment. I don't know exactly which arguments they used but it is a tough punishment for Suarez.

"It's feels like Uruguay has been thrown out of the World Cup. We all know what Suarez means to Uruguay and to football around the world - not having Suarez would be a loss to any team."

Valdez also insisted there was no possibility of Uruguay boycotting their last 16 match against Colombia on Saturday.

He told Press Association Sport: "No, that is not a possibility. Uruguay continues playing at this World Cup. We have good players who can come in."

He added that Suarez will return to Uruguay, saying: "Luis in the next few hours will travel to Montevideo to be with the rest of his family to recover."

Press Association

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